Tag Archives: phone

Clients and Phone Interviews – What’s Your Role?

Stained Sticky Notepaper Pad with Broken Pencil and Telephone HandsetCongratulations! You’ve scored a phone interview for your client with a big name reporter. Now comes the big question – do you join in?

I have worked for people that have stood on both sides of the issue as to whether or not you should be on the phone while a client does the interview. If the decision has been made that you will be listening in, do you tell the reporter you are on the other line? Do you chime in? Or, do you just pretend you aren’t there and take a back seat? And, what do the reporters think?

There are so many opinions that surround this topic; I thought I would poll the PRBC crew and a couple of reporters to get their thoughts. Continue reading

Dear Telephone (A Love Letter)

Hand in desert holding vintage telephoneDear Telephone,

Times have definitely changed. We used to talk with each other every day, seven hours a day, five days a week. During those moments, I couldn’t bear the sight of you.

Currently with the popularity of e-mails, Twitter, Facebook and text messages, it seems we rarely speak anymore.  Please don’t be sad. It’s because of all these other forms of communication that I’ve really grown to miss our relationship.

Remember the times we used to talk with journalists and reporters? Sure not all the conversations were glorious, but the point was it was a conversation – there was a hint of a personal connection. Continue reading

Every Flack’s Dream Client

Children 2As public relations professionals, we work in a service-based industry.  Our clients hire us, pay us, and expect us to provide them with results.  What those specific results are, is of course part of a larger plan which is discussed between a company and their agency.  The PR team works hard and provides the client with frequent updates while they go along their daily business.  Perfect, terrific, wonderful, right?  Unfortunately, not always.

What many clients fail to realize is that PR, while certainly a service-based profession, is very much a two-way street.   Continue reading

E-mail, I hate you

Communication IconI was on the phone with a friend of mine the other day. She works at home and completely relies on e-mail and virtual communication. She let out this huge groan and states “I am hella annoyed right now. [She is from California, hence the usage of hella] Everyone always replies to my e-mails but NEVER actually answers any of my questions. Instead, they ask questions that I already answered in that e-mail. DOES ANYONE READ ANYMORE?” Continue reading

Dear Flack (Volume 1)

Dear Flack,
I am just starting out in PR and need a few tips for phone pitching. Can you help out?
Phone Home
Dear Phone Home,
There are a lot of differing opinions on telephone pitching these days. Some PR pros are for it, and some treat the device like a disgusting carton of sour milk. Whatever side of fence you’re on, chances are you will need to pick up that phone and pitch every now and again.
With that being said, here are a few pointers to get you started:
·         Relax, get to it.  As a rookie phone pitcher, it’s perfectly acceptable to feel a bit nervous on your first calls out. In addition to the phone call itself, you might also hesitate because you think a co-worker or boss is listening in on your conversations. This is nothing to be ashamed about—most of us have been in your shoes at one time or another.  Try asking your boss if there’s an empty office that you might be able to use. If that doesn’t work, just try to focus on the task at hand and tune out your surroundings. Also remember that if your boss is eavesdropping, that he/she may just be trying to help you out.
·         Think before you pitch.  It is imperative that you know your pitch inside and out. You do not want to get caught on the phone with a media outlet without your facts straight. If you lack the confidence in your spiel, the journalist or producer will sense it right away. I suggest writing out key points and facts ahead of time and keeping them by your side. Just beware of sounding like you are reading from a script—keep a natural and conversational tone.
·         Pitch to the right person. You are now relaxed, confident in your pitch—but do you know who you are calling? Make sure you are contacting the right person that would cover your story. If you are publicizing a new digital camera, don’t call food editor. Cover your bases and search for the latest stories the reporter has written. This will at least ensure that your pitch has a chance of scoring some interest.  Additionally, sometimes there are multiple people covering a beat or no one specifically at an outlet.  It’s simple enough to ask – “I’m not one hundred percent that this should be on your desk so I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction.”  Works great – seeking advice makes people feel knowledgeable and most people want to be helpful, acknowledging that you may be wrong makes them realize you’re human, and it’s often more time effective to pick the close person (not banking–>food but at least in the right ballpark) and ask than to spend hours researching only to discover the right person is on maternity leave and the beat is being handled by a general assignment writer for the next few months anyway.
·         Ask permission.  It’s no secret that time is precious commodity in the newsroom. If you get someone on the phone, introduce yourself, and then ask if it’s a good time to talk. This person could be on deadline or in a meeting.
·         Ready, set, pitch. So you have their attention, maybe for a minute. You need to make your case fast. Be succinct, clear, and conversational if time permits. Anticipate questions the press might ask you in advance, and have your answers ready to go. If you get a question that you absolutely do not know, be honest and say that you’ll get back to him/her.
·         Phone pitching is like dating. Sometimes they say yes and want to keep seeing you; other times they don’t want anything you got. Don’t get upset if the journalist is rude or uninterested in your pitch. It happens to the best of us. Brush it off, pick up the phone and keep plugging away. It’s the unfortunate truth that rejection is part of the public relations field, so don’t get discouraged. If you are getting nowhere with your pitch, take a step back, and see if anything needs tweaking.
However if you did score a “date” and the reporter is interested in your pitch, follow up. Don’t wait five days to circle back around with him/her. Get the individual the information, interviews, hi-res images—all the materials requested—in a timely and reliable fashion.
Do you have a question for Dear Flack? If there’s something you’ve always wondered about, or wanted to ask about public relations and social media world, e-mail dearflack@gmail.com . We take privacy very seriously and all names, companies and locations will remain confidential.
Dear Flack is written by Marie V-B, a seasoned public relations professional. Advice is based on both personal experience and input from members of PR Breakfast Club and outside expert sources.

[Editor’s Note: Got a PR question you’ve been dying to ask, but don’t have the right person in your rolodex?  Keep reading…]

Dear Flack,

I am just starting out in PR and need a few tips for phone pitching. Can you help out?


Phone Home

Continue reading